Anyone who hasn’t yet been granted a number for the 2014 Boston Marathon may be out of luck.
In the past, aspiring marathoners might still be able to pluck a number bib for official entry from a Boston-area running club or by joining a charity team, but both paths are all but completely blocked because of the high interest generated in next year’s race.
Numbers from local clubs are pretty much allocated, despite the entry fee of over $300, and applicants to run with charity teams have skyrocketed despite tougher standards for raising funds.
“Dream Big,” for example, has 200 applicants for 15 numbers and Team Red Cross has 190 applicants for 35 slots, compared to 75 hopefuls last year. Mass. General Hospital has 600 applicants for 100 numbers.
With the heightened interest, the minimum has increased for funds runners must raise. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, for example, is only considering people who commit to raise $7,500, which is up from $5,000 last year.
Last year, there were 2,000 charity runners at Boston. Officials have raised that limit to 3,000 for 2014 for an expanded field of 36,000, but it’s still extremely tough to secure a number.
Nothing will approach the Feaster Five in Andover, which attracted more than 10,000 runners, but there were plenty of other popular races on Thanksgiving.
Leading the way was the 25th Maudslay Turkey Trot at Maudslay Park. Won by former Timberlane standout and UNH senior Lou Saviano in 16:06, it drew 1,519 runners. The nearby Wild Turkey Trot at Pipestave fields in West Newbury attracted 416 runners.
The Greater Derry Turkey Trot, meanwhile, attracted 1,248 runners and had a battle for first as former Pinkerton standout Peter Najem ran an excellent 15:58 to nip another Pinkerton grad, Kevin McMahon, by a second.
The biggest increase in runners was the North Reading 5K Turkey Trot. With North Reading High seniors Eli Spicer and Jake O’Connell finishing one-two, 1,228 runners crossed the finish line.